Photos from Vancouver (Fairleigh Dickinson, Expo Line, and more)

These photos are from a business trip to Vancouver in January 2024, in the midst of a cold snap. All were taken with an iPhone XR, with varying degrees of success; I did not have a polarizing filter, though I do own one for the iPhone and simply forgot to take it along. All the photos were resized for the desktop version of this site—to 720 pixels wide.

From the Expo Line (SkyTrain)

Let me start by explaining the watermarks. When I ran Allpar, I found my photos all over the Internet, with no credit. (I never understood the mentality of “if it’s on the Internet I can use it,” as though we would reprint a book from the library with only the writer’s name changed!) At least I can try to direct some publicity to this site; 0.5% clicking through to dave.zatz.us may not be great, but it’s better than 0.0%.

View from the Expo Line SkyTrain

Vancouver has incredible views, as do the surrounding British Columbia towns including Surrey and Burnaby, where many of those who work in Vancouver live. Even in these outer towns, prices have skyrocketed; a waitress told us her one-bedroom condominium was now worth $750,000 and a small house would run to $3 million. But looking out the window from the automated Expo Line—which moved faster than, say, the New York City subway—you can see why people keep moving in.

Expo Line SkyTrain station in Vancouver

The photo above was taken as we pulled into the station. The one below was taken through the open doors at another station stop. By this time we were in Burnaby.

Photo of Burnaby from the SkyTrain

Here’s an uncorrected version of the same photo which might or might not be better.

Burnaby, BC again

This one (below) was shot through the window, and has some reflections. Holy Cow Foods is apparently a fairly large supplier to the trade. I don’t know the story behind the tile depot’s “FED” sign.

Holy Cow Foods and mountains

I took this trying to get the station sign (“Patterson”) which is similar to a local city, Paterson. While Paterson, New Jersey is next to a mountain, or at least a hill, most of it is not quite so pretty. I did not apply any corrections to this photo other than straightening it out (I find it quite hard to shoot straight from a phone; indeed, I can barely use the phone as a viewfinder.)

Patterson, BC


Views from FDU and nearby

You can see one of the ubiquitous ships heading through behind the buildings, and the mountains behind the ships. This is from the FDU student lounge.

Vancouver - crane, buildings, mountains

I used Photoshop’s optimizing on that photo since otherwise it came out quite green, as in the following photo which I did not manipulate in any way, even to make up for my tilt. It’s a bit smaller in width but it’s a vertical photo.

Unretouched green Vancouver photo with cargo ship

The following two photos show the roof of Costco among other things. They were taken from the ground level, outside the building, at different times—on different days.

Evening over the Vancouver Costco

The apparent blur is steam.

Sunset in British Columbia (over Costco)

Same perspective, different views

first in a series of photos from Fairleigh Dickinson University

In January 2024, I taught three days of a capstone class at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), a multinational university. The first batches of these photos were taken from the same window of the student lounge at one of their buildings in downtown Vancouver, near the arena.

unretouched photo

The photo above is the only one which is completely unretouched, showing among other things wide-angle artifacts. I realize now that all my photos will be green filtered as the windows were tinted that color. Our eyes adjust automatically and “fill in,” our cameras do not.

FDU photo series 2

What to focus on? How to frame it? How to capture the mountains and avoid reflections from the window?

FDU photo 3 - evening

And then... evening starts to fall.

FDU sunset in Canada

The mountains are lit on fire, though covered in ice.

evening in the skyscrapers

One interesting issue here is that the eye has a much better feel for these kinds of photos than the (cellphone) camera does.

FDU Vancouver photo series

Then the orange really, really dominates.

fiery orange sunset in Vancouver

Other photos of Vancouver, BC

After classes were over, I took a long walk, heading towards the train station at Gastown. This view is from the train station parking lot, shooting over the dozen or so train tracks—all occupied, just one with a commuter train (they run into Vancouver in the morning and leave in the evening).

harbor - Vancouver train station parking lot

This is one of the train station windows which looks out onto the parking lot and the mountains.

from the train station

I took a run down the Canada Line, but out to City Hall it was all underground so I surfaced and thought I’d walk to the Expo Line. It was a long slog through a not especially attractive neighborhood, on a different island from the downtown. UBC, the University of British Columbia, is on this island, in more attractive surroundings than I was. I didn’t take many photos but stopped in the middle of a street to shoot this, quite quickly:

random street near UBC

I might add that there were numerous marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver, and I think I walked by three of them and around six clearly stoned people. Legalizing pot is quite the tradeoff—a lot of people will waste their lives being stoned and become something of a nuisance, though a mild one. One the other hand, alcohol is legal and has worse tradeoffs; and isn’t much good for the terminally ill as a pain medicine. Banning alcohol did little good and banning marijuana, I suspect, will turn out to have been about as successful in creating a cottage industry in mobsters and thugs. Anyhow, I finally hopped onto a bus—they all take swipes of credit cards or watches or phones—and took the Expo Line back into town, getting off one stop after the one I’d taken before so I could walk through a bit more of the town. That’s when I stopped in the middle of another street (more safely this time) for this photo:

Pacific Centre and street

Finally, this was taken through the hotel window. The ugly concrete building with the satellites is CBC Radio. The trees were prettier in person, and I liked the Japanese-influenced structure built around the HVAC system (not that it kept any snow off). Before the snow, the roof of this building held a grassy garden and some picnic tables.

trees opposite hotel

The Sylva Hotel (built in 1912) sign at night, with the beach in the background, exactly as the camera recorded it.

Sylvia Hotel

The pilot didn’t quite buzz New York City on the way home, but we did get surprisingly close. I wish I'd taken another photo two seconds later! But I was still not believing we were this close to Manhattan, and also sometimes you just want to experience it, not take pictures which might not come out anyway.

New York City skyline

That’s it. Do you want more travels and photos posted? Let me know. This is still an experiment.

Books by David Zatz

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